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  • Dominant Celts held by Slavia Prague

    Dominant Celts held by Slavia Prague

    By: Mark Henderson in Prague on 04 Jul, 2017 19:01

  • Pre-season friendly
    Eden Arena, Prague
    Tuesday, July 4, 2017



    DESPITE creating a host of chances, Celtic were held to a goal-less draw by Slavia Prague in the Eden Arena on a night when former Hoops player Johnny Madden was honoured by both clubs.

    Madden played as a forward Celtic’s first-ever match in 1888 – a 5-2 win over Rangers – and he went on to make 118 appearances and score 49 goals for the Bhoys. After retiring from the game, he became Slavia’s first-ever manager in 1905 and led the club into their golden age during his 25-year reign in charge.

    Prior to kick-off, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and a number of officials from Slavia paid tribute to Madden at a ceremony in front of the main stand, which from today will bear his name in recognition of the huge contribution he made to the club and Czech football. His place in the history of both clubs is assured.

    On the pitch, the Scottish champions failed to translate their dominance into goals, but it was another excellent workout for the Invincibles in their third friendly of pre-season.

    Tom Rogic and Jozo Simunovic both made their first starts of pre-season in the only two changes to the team who drew 1-1 with Rapid Vienna on Saturday.

    Rogic, who scored a dramatic late winner in the Scottish Cup final to clinch the treble last season, started in midfield alongside captain Scott Brown and Callum McGregor, while Simunovic partnered Dedryck Boyata in central defence.

    Erik Sviatchenko and Stuart Armstrong were the players to drop out, with both named among the substitutes.

    Celtic were quickly into their stride, moving the ball around briskly on the brand-new surface at the Eden Arena, and Mikael Lustig saw an early shot tipped over the bar by Jan Lastuvka after he had been teed-up by McGregor.

    The Bhoys were in complete control of the early exchanges and were looking menacing when they entered the final third, and had Rogic been able to get a pinpoint cross from Tierney under control then he would have had a clear strike at goal.

    Moments later, the Australian internationalist did pull the triggger, but his effort from 18 yards flashed wide as the Scottish champions remained on top.

    Forrest was next to try his luck when Lastuvka got his hands to the winger’s powerful, angled drive at the second attempt.

    In the 25th minute, Forrest turned provider as Brendan Rodgers’ side came close again, the wide-man showing some nimble footwork to side-step his marker and supply Rogic, whose first-time attempt was deflected narrowly wide of the near post.

    It had been one-way traffic but Slavia gave their vocal home support something to get excited seven minutes before the break when they fashioned a couple of chances in quick succession.

    First, striker Milan Skoda came close to connecting with Ruslan Mingazov’s inviting low centre and then when the loose ball was swung back into the mix, Michal Frydrych headed over from close range.  

    Celtic re-emerged for the second half without Dedryck Boyata who had picked up a knock just before the break. He was replaced by Jonny Hayes, with Kieran Tierney stepping inside to centre-half.   

    Despite the switch in personnel, the Hoops were quickly back in control of proceedings and they should have broke the deadlock soon after the restart. Rogic’s delicate pass released Leigh Griffiths and the striker’s cutback was met by Sinclair but he couldn’t apply the finish from point-blank range.

    Slavia had another close escape when, following Hayes’ drilled delivery from the left, McGregor brilliantly twisted and turned away from three defenders to create some space for the shot but he failed to hit the target, much to his frustration.

    After Griffiths had curled over a free-kick, Brendan Rodgers introduced Sviatchenko, Moussa Dembele and Armstrong from the bench.

    Meaningful chances were at a premium for both sides in the closing stages of the contest as the game became punctuated by fouls, but there were plenty of positives for the Celts reflect on from the exercise as they gear up for their final friendly ahead of competitive action, against Shamrock Rovers on Saturday.

    CELTIC (4-3-3) Gordon, Lustig, Simunovic (Sviatchenko 63), Boyata (Hayes 46),Tierney; McGregor (Bitton 79), Brown, Rogic; Forrest, Griffiths (Dembele 63) Sinclair (Armstrong 63)
    Not Used: De Vries, Hazard, Doohan, Izaguirre, Mackay-Steven, Henderson, Ralston, McCart, Aitchison, Miller

    SLAVIA PRAGUE (4-3-3) Lastuvka; Michal (Boril 46), Jakub, Simon (Bilek 46), Flo (Svento 73);  Jasmin; Husbauer (Altintop 46), Rotan (Alvir 73); Stanislav (van Buren 46), Skoda (Mesanovic 46), Mingazov
    Not Used: Trubac

    Website Man of the Match: Tom Rogic


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